The final five years of Saint-Gaudens double eagles–1929 to 1933–were melted in massive quantities after the United States effectively ended the gold standard and outlawed private ownership of gold coins in mid-1933.
On October 29, 1929, a day known forever as Black Tuesday, the stock market plummeted and ushered in the beginning of the decade-long Great Depression. Until that time many gold coins, especially double eagles, were sent overseas (primarily to Europe) to serve as reserves in bank vaults.
The economic crisis, however, and the subsequent decline of the gold standard, meant that European banks had no need for any American gold shipments. Only a handful of 1929 double eagles have returned to the United States from foreign banks.
A couple of small caches of these coins were located in the 1980s and 1990s, which gave collectors some faint hope of acquiring this once virtually unobtainable issue. Nonetheless, it remains one of the most significant rarities in the Saint-Gaudens double eagle series. NGC and PCGS have certified only 27 examples higher than this Choice Mint State specimen and that number is surely inflated by resubmissions (11/10).
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